By: Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, CFS, Chief Food and Product Safety Officer and Senior Vice President Food Safety, FMI
New Year’s resolutions often start with plans to be healthier. What if a shopper’s new year, new you goal to be healthier could be achieved in a simple way—by doing something they already do regularly—going to the grocery store? That’s right, shoppers’ health and well-being goals can be achieved at their local grocery store.
In-Store Health and Wellness Initiatives
The 2019 Retailer Contributions to Health and Wellness report finds there are a wide variety of health and wellness initiatives provided right in the supermarket. Survey respondents shared that in more than 50% of their stores they offer:
- Good-For-You products.
- Healthy Recipes.
- Product Sampling.
- Menu Labeling.
- Better-For-You Prepared Foods.
In addition to these free health and wellness opportunities, grocery stores offer several paid resources for shoppers including nutrition counseling (48%), cooking classes (48%), and wellness classes (44%).
Opportunities to Expand Health and Wellness Options
The report finds an increase in health and wellness activities offered by grocery stores over the years. At the same time, survey respondents report they value health and wellness programs for their business growth opportunity (70%), ability to meet consumer expectations (63%), capacity to build customer loyalty (54%) and ability to create “one-stop shops” (54%). This means there is an opportunity for food retailers and suppliers to expand in-store health and wellness options—but where to start?
Survey respondents report that the least provided health and wellness services in-store (those available in less than 50% of stores under their banner), include:
- Weight Management Classes.
- Closed-Loop TV.
- Candy-Free Checkouts.
- New Mother Programs.
- Kiosks with Health Tips.
Expanding these services is one way to dive deeper into the health and wellness proposition your stores offer. Grocery stores are trying innovative tactics such as incorporating exercise classes and wellness workshops into their offerings. Shoppers already see grocery stores as allies in their eating well goals, but as shoppers begin to depend on their grocery store more, we’ll likely see neighborhood supermarkets transformed into health and wellness destinations.